How long does it take to extend a lease?

The time it takes to extend your lease depends on whether you are following the formal or informal route (click to read about the different processes). In this article we will how long it takes to extend your lease through bth the formal and informal route and also provide tips on how to speed the process up.

How long does the formal route take?

The formal route has statutory stages that legally have to be met by the freeholder and leaseholder. Here are some of the statutory time frames that govern formal process:

  • After the landlord has received the Initial Notice (section 42) they have 21 days to request evidence of the leaseholders right to a formal lease extension.
  • After the landlord has received the Initial Notice (section 42) they have 2 months from the date of the notice to serve their Section 45 - Counter-notice.
  • After the landlords has served their Section 45 - Counter-notice the leaseholder has 6 months to negotiate the premium with the freeholder before they must apply to the Tribunal
  • After the landlord and leaseholder have agreed a premium then then it can take between 1 to 3 months to finalise the reviewing of the new lease, completion and registering the new lease at the Land Registry

The formal lease extension process can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months to complete the lease extension.

How can you speed up the formal process?

Listed in the order of the formal route

  • Check you are eligible to extend - check you if you are eligible by clicking here
  • Use a specialist RICS lease extension valuer - getting a wrong valuation, or not getting a formal valuation and just using an online lease extension calculator, is one of the key reasons for delays with the lease extension. By offering an incorrect premium, you may inadvertently annoy the freeholder who may feel that you were trying to get the lease extended for under market value. This reaction can occur in negotiations so to combat this you should always get a lease premium calculated so you know it is correct.
  • Make a reasonable offer - once armed with a premium to offer, it is your responsibility to put forward how much you want to offer to extend the lease. If you choose to start very low and work upwards, similar to the above, you could push the freeholder away from the negotiation table and it is likely they;ll start with a higher figure. It is often best not to start at the lowest point, but not the highest point. A reasonable offer in the middle is more likely to reduce negotiation time.
  • Check you have the finances - after you get our premium from your surveyor, work out if you can afford to extend your lease by adding up all the lease extension costs.
  • Speak to your freeholder - before you serve your Section 42 Notice you should speak to the freeholder and look to agree in principle the premium to extend the lease. This isn't legally binding, however it is quicker and cheaper than using your solicitor and you can normally agree a figure before the formal notice is served. If you don't do this then you may find your offer comes a shock to the freeholder which can cause delays as the freeholder gets their own valuation (that you have to pay for) and you could then be faced with long negotiations.
  • Get your finances in order - if you are selling or remortgaging to fund the lease extension then you need to ensure you have completed the required work to tie in the lease extension with when you will get the money to pay for the costs.

Do you need help extending your lease?

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How long does the informal route take?

Unlike the formal route, the informal route has no prescribed time scales so can complete faster. The issue though is if you encounter an issue related to the informal offer, premium offered, clauses in the contract or overly increased ground rent, you don't have the formal statutory rules to force the freeholder to progress/negotiate.

How do you speed up the informal route?

Similar to the formal route, the leaseholder should check if they can afford the premium on offer, however if the process slows down there is little that can be done o speed the process up. It is not uncommon for an informal lease extension be changed to a formal with an amended offer to reflect the 90 years so that the leaseholder can get a more favourable lease term and run it using the prescrbed time scales.

How long does it take to extend a lease?

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